Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Cornell Lake Source Cooling

Cornell University's Lake Source Cooling (LSC) facility draws water from Cayuga Lake and uses it to cool campus buildings before discharging back into the Lake. Although the system operates as a "closed loop" system (i.e. no water or contaminants are added to the water), the discharge from the cooling facility does contains phosphorus that was in the water when withdrawn from the Lake.

DEC has issued a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit to regulate the levels of phosphorus and other substances in the facility discharge. Previous permit conditions included Cornell University to fund a $2.1 million study and develop a water quality model to characterize and quantify sources and impacts of the phosphorus to support DEC's development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan. The history of the LSC permit is listed below.

Date Deliverables and Other Items (with Links)
March 2013 Initial SPDES Permit for Cornell University Lake Source Cooling (LSC) Facility (PDF) See also Modified Permit (Mar 2016)
March 2013 DEC Response to Public Comment on Cornell LSC Facility SPDES Permit (PDF)
March 2013 Cayuga Lake Modeling Project Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for Phase 1: Monitoring and Modeling Support for a Phosphorus/Eutrophication Model for Cayuga Lake (PDF)
Jan 2013 Workplan - Lake Source Cooling Outfall Redesign (PDF)
Jan 2013 Cornell University Chilled Water Best Management Practices Program (PDF)
Jan 2013 Cornell University LSC Proposed Workplan for an Entrainment Characterization Study (PDF)
Dec 2014 Status Report 1: Outfall Redesign Study (PDF)
Dec 2014 Phase 1: Monitoring and Modeling Support of Phosphorus/Eutrophication Model for Cayuga Lake - Executive Summary (PDF) The Full Report is available on the Cornell University/Cayuga Lake Modeling Project Website (leaves DEC website)
Jan 2015 Cornell University Chilled Water Best Management Practices Program - 2014 Annual Report (PDF)
Jan 2015 Cayuga Lake Modeling Project Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for Phase 2: Monitoring and Modeling Support for a Phosphorus/Eutrophication Model for Cayuga Lake (PDF)
April 2015 Cornell University LSC Entrainment Characterization Study (see Oct 2015 Final Biomonitoring Status Report below)
Aug 2015 Status Report 2: Outfall Redesign Study (PDF)
Oct 2015 Cornell University LSC Final Biomonitoring (Entrainment Characterization Study) Status Report (PDF)
Jan 2016 Cornell University Chilled Water Best Management Practices Program - 2015 Annual Report (PDF)
March 2016 MODIFIED Final SPDES Permit for Cornell University Lake Source Cooling (SC) Facility (PDF)
April 2016 Status Report 3: Outfall Redesign Study (PDF)
Oct 2016 Cornell Lake Source Cooling Facility Outfall Redesign Study Final Report (PDF) and Appendix A (PDF) See also DEC Comments on the Final Report (Feb 2017)
Dec 2016 Phase 2 Final Report: A Phosphorus/Eutrophication Water Quality Model for Cayuga Lake, NY (PDF)
Jan 2017 Cornell University Chilled Water Best Management Practices Program - 2016 Annual Report (PDF)
Feb 2017 DEC Comments on the Cornell Lake Source Cooling Outfall Redesign Final Report (PDF)
June 2020 SPDES Permit for Cornell LSC Facilty

  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC
    Water Assessment and Management
    Division of Water
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY
    12233-3502
    518-402-8179
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to Region 7